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Okinawa police inspect U.S. helicopter after incident

15 December 2017
Okinawa police inspect U.S. helicopter after incident

Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said the Tuesday incident was "unacceptable" and urged USA forces to minimize their impact on local residents.

"We take this report extremely seriously and are investigating the cause of this incident in close coordination with local authorities", III Marine Expeditionary Force said in a statement to Fox News.

"This is a regrettable incident and we apologize for any anxiety it has caused the community", added the statement. Jerry Martinez and requested that the USA military voluntarily refrain from flying Super Stallions.

State Minister of Defense Tomohiro Yamamoto met Wednesday with U.S. Forces Japan commander Lt. Gen.

"The fact that it fell right in the middle of the playground is bad and unforgivable", he told reporters during a visit to the school, according to Japanese public broadcaster NHK. Many locals have expressed amazement and disbelief that schoolchildren had been endangered by falling American objects twice in one week. "It has been repeated over and over again and I don't have the words to describe my feelings".

Japanese and US authorities have been planning for the past two decades to move the air base to a less densely populated part of the island, and the U.S.is now planning to relocate 4,000 marines from the bases in Okinawa to the USA territory of Guam by 2024. Organizers said they expect about 300 people to turn out.

The U.S. military resumed flight operations of the CH-53E heavy-lift helicopter a week later without offering an explanation for the cause of the crash. The aircraft immediately returned to MCAS Futenma and reported the incident.

But the relocation would only move the danger to areas around Henoko and do nothing to ease the burden imposed on people in Okinawa.

Such incidents, as well as frequent scandals involving USA military staff, have led to large-scale protests from locals and officials who are unhappy at the American military presence on Okinawa.

A Marine Corps CH-53 helicopter made an emergency landing on a farm and burned in October. The aircraft was an nearly total loss.

The metal window frame, measuring about 90 centimeters square and weighing 7.7 kilograms, fell on the school adjacent to the Futenma base on Wednesday.

Okinawa hosts the bulk of US military bases in Japan, yet represents just a tiny percentage of Japan's land mass.

Local residents are frustrated by noise, crime and accidents linked to US bases.

Just a year ago, a U.S. Marines' Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft crash-landed off the coast of Nago, a city in the prefecture, during a night air-to-air refueling drill.